Just in: Trumpet star takes over major festival

Alison Balsom is to be Artistic Director of Cheltenham Music Festival from next summer.

The trumpeter, who is married to the film director Sam Mendes, withdrew from concerts earlier this year to have a baby.

This is her bounce-back moment.

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  • Only a “star” to those who care more about appearance rather than music. Any trumpet player in a major orchestra can play as well as her.

    • Ms. Balsom’s trumpet playing is quite fantastic, particularly when she plays piccolo or natural trumpet. Being a soloist is quite a bit different than being an orchestral principal. There are many outstanding soloists who would not fare as well as an orchestral principal, but that pendulum also swings the other way. Maurice Andre was a superlative soloist, but not known as an orchestral player. Adolph Herseth was the doyen of orchestral trumpet players in the US for many years, but not a frequent soloist at all.

      I can’t speak to Ms. Balsom’s organizational or administrative acumen and have no idea how she will fare at Cheltenham, but she has certainly earned the moniker of “trumpet star.”

      • Maurice André played 1st trumpet with a couple of French orchestras (Lamoureux, Radio France and Opéra Comique) before becoming a full-time soloist.

  • What wonderful news!! Alison is a supreme musician in every respect. She cares deeply about music education and she has brilliant ideas. I’m thrilled. This will reignite Cheltenham in every way and lift it to new heights!!!

    • There is a major difference here. Ms. Balsom has actually earned the plaudits she has received because she is supremely talented. Any comparison to Ms. Kardashian, who seems devoid of any notable skill other than being able to market and exploit herself, is wholly unjustified. If she applies herself to Cheltenham as she has applied herself to the trumpet it will turn out just fine.

    • Only on this blog do you find such contemptuous, envious, petty, meaningless commentary as this. It wasn’t even worthy of Greg’s generous attempt to unravel it.

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